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Viperwolf

Viperwolf
Caniferratus costatus
Viperwolf
 Jungle Grassland 
Sapience level Non-sapient
Average height 70-100 cm
Average length 150-200 cm
Location / range Pandora (moon)
Diet Carnivore
Social unit Pack
Population status Common
Danger rating Extreme threat

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The viperwolf, called nantang in the Na'vi language, is a lean, six-legged pack hunting predator native to Pandora.

The viperwolf has evolved to travel swiftly over long distances in search of prey. Viperwolves are predominantly nocturnal carnivorous pack hunters with territories ranging over 480 kilometers. Very few predators (the mountain banshee among them) will attempt an attack on a viperwolf. Viperwolf packs can mass together into a highly cooperative hunting party within seconds of finding prey. The habitats of the viperwolf include rainforests, savanna, and subarctic regions of Pandora.

Anatomy and appearanceEdit

The viperwolf has six legs, with each paw having three toes and an opposable thumb. This allows it to climb trees as well as stalk from the ground and, thereby, creates a three-dimensional hunting field. It is mostly black, but is banded with vermillion and iridescent blue. Its hairless skin appears burnished and the low-slung head has chitinous armor around the neck, which turns to amphipod plating on the back of the neck and spine. The viperwolf has distensible snakelike jaws with obsidian teeth and a paddle-like tail for stability. Bioluminescent patterns are used for pack identification.

When stalking prey, the viperwolf is able to reduce its profile by hugging the ground or clinging to tree limbs. They are typically nocturnal hunters. Its dark skin allows it to blend in with the environment at night and, thus hidden, a viperwolf can often approach within a few meters of unsuspecting prey and then attack with frightening efficiency. One xenobiologist describes this graceful, ominous movement as “liquid darkness”. Viperwolf jaws can exert four kilograms of pressure per square centimeter, enough to crush bone, or even stone.

Their keen intelligent green eyes can see as clearly at night as in the day. Their long distance vision is only moderate, but their depth perception is superior. Their sense of smell is second only to the thanator (based on the few creatures that have been measured to date) and it is believed that a viperwolf can sense prey from more than eight kilometers away.

Adults reach up to two meters in length and up to one meter in height.

BehaviorEdit

Although vicious during combat and hunting, viperwolf mothers treat their cubs in a gentle, loving manner. Only months after birth, a viperwolf cub is required to hunt on its own. However, the cubs mature swiftly and grow to half the adult size by their sixth month. By then, they also have a full set of teeth and their jaw muscles are almost mature. Viperwolf young are playful, in much the same manner as that of Terran Canidae pups.

Very few predators will attempt an attack on a viperwolf. Viperwolves almost always move in packs that can mass together into a highly cooperative hunting party within seconds of finding prey. The ratio of brain mass to body weight of the average adult viperwolf indicates a high order of mental processing, pattern recognition, and communication skills.

The viperwolf hunts in small groups, communicating with coyote-like barks, hyena cackles, and snake-like hissing. The pack also appears to communicate information about the potential prey or predator with facial tics, paw gestures, and audio cues.

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